Joe Crookston is a songwriter, guitarist, painter, fiddler, eco-village member and believer in all things possible. Named 2016 Folk Alliance International Artist-in- Residence and signed to Tamulevich Artist Management. He’s not afraid to walk outside trends and create his own version of magic. His recording Able Baker Charlie & Dog was awarded Album of the Year by Folk alliance International. He will surprise you and he’ll awaken the cynics. His songs are being made into films and are being printed in songbooks. Joe’s live performances are multi-media celebrations of art and possibility with looped fiddle, video, slide guitar and SONGS. He’s a bard in the modern world plumbing for lyrical gold like a social archeologist. His story songs are universal, his slide playing infectious, and on stage he’s funny as hell one moment and transcendent the next.
Come to a show. Travel mystical, historical, and humorous roads, and twist through lush sonic landscapes along the way. Oklahoma towns, rattlesnake tails, Taoist parables and drunk roosters. At the end of the night, you’ll leave inspired. The Long Note in Irish culture is that place of resonance and transcendence where the music, the voices, the instruments, and the community ALL come together and unite. There IS a “Long Note” and Joe is courting it fiercely.
Watch a YouTube video. It’s good, but it’s not the same.
You gotta come to the show.
In February 2016 Joe was invited to be the Artist in Residence at the Folk Alliance International Conference. He collaborated with the World War I Museum in Kansas City researching its archives of letters, field recordings, photographs and collection to write an original song and create a painting. The work The Letters of Florence Hemphill tells the story of a nurse from Kansas who was a courageous medical presence during some of the most intense fighting of the war. The song, told from Florence’s perspective, allows her voice to be heard and her strength to be seen… to not be lost and forgotten.
2017 ~ His song “Brooklyn in July” is being made into a short film by NYC based DelanoCelli Productions and Joe’s song “Blue Tattoo” is the inspiration for “Blue Tattoo,” a documentary film that relates how Crookston and Holocaust survivor Dina Jacobson of Elmira, NY came together to form a unique friendship with a common sense of purpose. The documentary recently premiered at the Buffalo International Jewish Film Festival.
“Georgia I’m Here, released in April 2014 is a beautifully crafted sonic sculpture. As a listener, you are IN the song. You ARE the window washer on the 42nd floor.
The newly released volume of Rise Up Singing includes three of Joe’s songs. Fall Down as the Rain, Good Luck John and Bird by Bird, along with 1200 new songs, will become part of the canon of American Folk Music.
Joe’s CD, “Able Baker Charlie & Dog” received the most airplay of any folk acoustic recording and was awarded: “Album of the Year” by the International Folk Alliance in Memphis, TN.
He is signed to Tamulevich Artist Management with fellow songwriters, John Gorka, Red Horse, and Peter Yarrow.
He received a year-long songwriting grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to travel throughout New York State, collect stories, and write original songs.
Joe made the Top 10 Artists of 2014 list on the Folk DJ charts, along with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, John McCutcheon, John Gorka and the Stray Birds.
His favorite quote about his music is:
“I hate folk music, but I absolutely LOVE Joe Crookston’s music!”
But, for Joe, it’s less about awards and quotes, and it’s more about this:
“I am learning to trust that my voice as a songwriter is a combination of my conscious and unconscious mind. More and more I find that when I tell my story from both of these realms, it has wider breadth, deeper impact, and resonates more clearly.
After years of creating, I do feel as though I've honed a way of writing and performing that has identifiable themes and expresses my quirky uniqueness.
There is a Georgia O'Keeffe quote that I love, and I'm paraphrasing: "The parts of ourselves that we are most self-conscious of, are the parts of ourselves that are most uniquely true to who we are!"
I see my job as an artist to have the confidence to sing, play and perform from this deep/true place inside of myself despite what is hip and cool at the moment.”
I have been remembering this quote by Woody Guthrie: "A SONG has to be more than GOOD.....it has to be GOOD for SOMETHING." When my songs are played at births, funerals, Quaker retreats, grade school history classes, weddings, and are being placed in museum exhibits and films...I feel like I'm making Woody proud.